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Understanding the Test
Test Measures
Interpreting Results
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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
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Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum

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  1. No special preparation is required.

Understanding Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum

What is Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum?

An Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum test measures the amount of ALP enzyme in the body. This test helps detect liver diseases, such as hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and bile duct obstruction. It is done as part of routine health checkups or a liver function test to detect any liver damage.

Alkaline phosphatase or ALP is an enzyme that helps break down proteins in your body. It is found throughout the body, but mostly in the liver, bones, kidneys, and digestive system. ALP is produced in osteoblasts (cells in bones), which are involved in the formation of bones; therefore, an ALP test may also be used to detect some bone-related diseases, such as rickets, osteomalacia, Paget’s disease, and bone metastasis.

You may need an Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum test when you experience symptoms like belly pain and swelling, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, bone pain, increased frequency of bone fracture, swelling in arms and/or legs, and the yellowing of the skin and eyes. This test may also be used to check the progression or treatment response of an ongoing liver disease. Usually, no special preparation is required for an ALP test; eat and drink normally as per your daily routine.

Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between different labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your specific test results. Narrate your complete medical history to help the doctor correlate your clinical and laboratory findings. The test results will help them determine your medical condition, make recommendations for lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, decide whether or not medication will be required to manage your liver health, and formulate your overall treatment plan. 

What is Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum used for?

An Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum test is done: 

  • As part of a liver function test. 

  • To monitor an existing liver disease and its treatment response.

  • To detect bile duct stricture and obstruction.

  • To detect a bone disease if you have signs and symptoms like bone pain and increased frequency of fractures. 

  • To diagnose cholestasis of pregnancy.

What does Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum measure?

An Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum test measures the quantity of ALP enzyme present throughout the body. The main sources of this enzyme are the liver and bones. It exists in different forms depending on where it originates, such as liver ALP, bone ALP, and intestinal ALP. In the liver, it is found on the edges of the cells that join together to form bile ducts. 

ALP levels can be increased during pregnancy as it is found in the placenta of pregnant women. It is also higher in children because their bones are in the growing phase. ALP is often high during growth spurts (a short period of time when an individual experiences quick physical growth in height and body weight).

Interpreting Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum results


Alkaline phosphatase, serum:  74 - 390 U/L.


Reference range may vary from lab to lab*

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum

Frequently Asked Questions about Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum

Q. When can I need an Alkaline Phosphatase, Serum test?

You might need an ALP test if you show symptoms of liver disease, bile duct disorders, or bone disorders, such as the yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark and pale urine, light-colored stool, nausea, vomiting, belly pain, bone pain, joint pain, and frequent fractures.

Q. Is fasting required before an ALP test?

No, fasting is not required before an ALP test. You can eat or drink normally as per your daily routine before the test.

Q. Is there any risk associated with an ALP test?

There is usually no risk associated with this test. However, some people may feel a slight sting when a needle is pricked to collect the blood sample and may also experience some bleeding that is normal and usually not bothersome. Rarely, some people may experience slight swelling or bruising at the site of the needle prick. Applying ice 3-4 times a day for about a week may help reduce swelling and bruising. If it does not get better, consult your doctor.

Q. What are the symptoms of bone diseases?

The signs and symptoms suggesting a bone disorder include bone and joint pain, increased frequency of fractures, and deformed bones.

Q. What dietary sources can improve my ALP levels?

You must consult your doctor if your ALP levels are deranged. However, some dietary interventions and healthy lifestyle choices can help you to keep your ALP levels in a healthy range. Eat spinach, broccoli, garlic, strawberries, watermelon, raisins, dates, figs, chia seeds, and flax seeds to improve your ALP levels.
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